Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Interview With Author Melina Druga

I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.

Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:

Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.
Today I have a great interview with Melina Druga, author of historical fiction.

Interview with Melina Druga

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I’ve been writing for decades, since third or fourth grade when I wrote my first novel, an historical-fiction piece about two sisters growing up in an 1840s canal town. I still have the manuscript; it was mostly dialogue, but writing has been my passion ever since.
Later in life, I pursued and obtained a bachelor of arts degree in English with the goal of becoming a novelist. I began my writing career as a reporter and a copy editor at a daily newspaper, all the while writing fiction whenever I had spare time and perfecting my craft. As a child, I believed every draft was a masterpiece but by studying the classics – and by learning copy-editing skills – I realized a great work of fiction takes pre-planning, editing and multiple drafts.
I’ve been self-employed since 2011 and in 2014, obtained a certificate in social media for journalists from Poynter News University.

Why did you decide to write in the historical fiction genre?

I think in some ways it chose me because of my lifelong love of both writing and history.  Historical fiction is a seamless blend of my two passions.  I love how it allows authors to present history to readers in an entertaining way while hopefully teaching them something.
Angel of Mercy is the first novel I wrote that I feel passionate enough to present to the public.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Third or fourth grade.

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

My ideas originate very organically, often coming to me in a dream or while I’m focused on something else.  Angel of Mercy, for example, was inspired by the rock song “Mama” by My Chemical Romance. 
Before writing, I spend countless hours researching and outlining.  I write character bios and a detailed scene-by-scene list for the entire novel.
I burn the candle by both ends.  During the day I do work for clients as well as research, typing and editing for my projects.  I do any original writing, by hand, at night.

Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

My favorite author is Edith Wharton. I enjoy Wharton because she wrote about hypocrisy during Gilded Age New York City. Wharton was born in the 1860s and she grew up in New York high society, so she wrote based on first-hand experience and observation.

How do you research your books?

I’d done vast amounts reading over the years, both in books and online, as well as watching plenty of documentaries.
As for the reference books, even though they are part of my work, I don’t think of them as work. I geek out on that stuff. I enjoy learning something I never knew before, or learning more about a subject, especially when it relates to Angel of Mercy.

How did you become interested in World War One? 

It began with a dream I had as a teenager where I was a soldier being bayonetted to death. It was very real. My father said the uniforms I described could have been from World War One. Then I saw a PBS documentary called “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century” about how the events of 1914-1918 still effect us today. I was hooked. It also was the first time battlefield photos made me cry. Only World War One photos have that effect on me.  I can’t explain why; it just does.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Angel of Mercy is intended to be a series about one family.  I recently completed the rough draft of the next book, Those Left Behind, and the third book is in the planning stages.  I will beginning writing it in the next couple of weeks.  Once Angel of Mercy is published, I will beginning editing and rewriting Those Left Behind.
In addition, my next business book, Enterprising Women:  A Practical Guide to Starting Your First Business, will be available in May.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?

I practice yoga daily.  I also enjoy photography, although I don’t get to pursue that hobby as much as I’d like.

Melina Druga is an author and freelance journalist.  She has been writing since childhood.  If writing can be called a decades-long passion, then history is a life-long passion that began when she was young and her mother read her the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She is most interested in the 19th and 20th century with a particular interest in 1890-1920. She is fascinated with the birth of the modern world, and appalled by the futility of World War One. 

For additional information on Melina and her books, please visit:

Book Blurbs:

Angel of MercyThe fateful decision to join the war effort during World War One turns one young woman's life upside-down and forces her to search for her own identity.  The book has an upcoming release date.

For more on Angel of Mercy: http://www.melinadruga.com/angel-of-mercy/

Enterprising Women:  A Practical Guide to Starting Your First Business is a basic step-by-step guide to planning your first business.  An indispensable guide for any woman who wants to go into business for herself.  The book has an upcoming release date.

The first book in the series, Enterprising Women: Practical Advice for First Time Entrepreneurs is available on:

I'd like to thank Melina Druga for stopping by today, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Book Review of Paris, Éclairs and Vous by Lela Migirov

I have a book review today, for the English version of the non-fiction book Paris, Éclairs and Vous: An Artist's Guide-Book of Haute Pâtisserie Parisienne by author Lela Migirov.

Paris, Éclairs and Vous: An Artist's Guide-Book of Haute Pâtisserie Parisienne by author Lela Migirov. 

Lela Migirov’s book is an artist’s dreamy expression of the finest French confections and tour guide of the best patisseries of Paris. Paris, Eclairs & Vous is an impressionistic blend of visions and details about the creation of French pastry that can also serve as a proud addition to your coffee table book collection. Prof. Migirov painted and photographed the art that accompanies the mouth watering travels between Eclairs and Fraisiers, walking us from one delicatesse-filled patisserie to the next. She provides addresses and contact information of her favorite parisian spots so you too can taste the divine pastries she describes and depicts in her book.

My Review of Paris, Éclairs and Vous

Paris, Éclairs and Vous by Lela Migirov is a deliciously breezy romp through the world of French pastry and patisseries, peppered with snippets of history, information, and tips on the best culinary shops in Paris. An excellent selection of photos accompany each morsel of text, showcasing the wonderful confectionery delights, and at the end the author includes listings of patisseries, both a best of and a more comprehensive inventory, so you’re ready for that culinary Paris trip.
In addition, the book contains a series of complimentary paintings by the author, which gave it a unique touch. The colour and brushwork of the artwork is reminiscent of French Impressionism, although the style seemed more in the abstract vein. The art is a fascinating contrast to the photos and a lovely extra.
I did wish some of the write-ups were a bit longer, and a short glossary of the French terminology used might have been helpful, but neither point detracted overly from my reading enjoyment.
I liked this quick guide to the confections of Paris, and the book will definitely whet your appetite for pastry.

You can find Paris, Éclairs and Vous on:

And a French version at Contento Now

Note: I received a complimentary review copy of the book.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Interview With Charlene Diane Jones

Today I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.

Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:

Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.

Today I have a great interview with the wonderful author Charlene Diane Jones

Interview With Charlene Diane Jones

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I have sailed the Gulf of Mexico in tornado season, downed shots of Chang with Mongol mountain men in the north of India, seen the sunrise on the Himalaya Mountains, spent three months in strict meditation retreat in New Zealand, worked as a bar maid, a telex operator, a hotel chamber maid, scaled glaciers in Norway and more all before I was 25 years old
When I finally stopped, University beckoned so I achieved a double Master’s Degree, while raising my son, heading a communal house, and healing from the three days of rape, torture and witnessing a murder that took place when I was 16. The truth finally spilled over and out.
Luckily, I had a slew of healing modalities, including meditation, bio-energetics and dancing to help me find an even keel in these storms.
Now I’m a grandmother and consider healing my full time interest, with writing a passionate love I have pursued for over four decades and now, only now, find I waltz under the moon with my love regularly. I have published a novel, The Stain, genre Metaphysical Historical Fiction, along with a book of poetry and a non-fiction work.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

The Stain, about which I must caution readers there are many, many triggers, configures rape and madness in different terms. The terms include past lives and the repeat patterns of Karma. How does one of the protagonists escape endless cycles and describe freedom for them all?

You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why?

I actually prefer non-fiction as I find it less slippery than fiction.

Who is your intended readership?

The residents of the Pleiades have been known to train their consciousness upon Earth just to configure my writing. At least this is the rumour I have heard.

Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?

Everything about writing this book The Stain came as a surprise. I started scribbling on about 30 pages of yellow foolscap because the idea would not go away any other way. The first character was Mary but her original opening was too like Cinderella and in a writing course I took the criticism was just that: too like a fairy tale in the beginning.
(Worked for Hans Christian Anderson, why not me? But I digress) Then after I moved the pages for about ten years, from one spot to the next whenever I tidied or cleaned up the nook where the pages rested, I decided to put them on the computer. Except by then I had another character, Tahni, a Native American woman from a very long time ago who was deeply involved in her life, dipping a skin water bag into the stream near her house.
Well, that surprised me. But she demanded to be written so I went along for the interest of it. What was going to happen in her short and as it turned out somewhat tragic life? The story had me.
These two women came and behaved the way good characters ought, relaying their story and information about others around them, dignifying my position by letting me see through their eyes and hear through their ears what took place then and then and then.
Diana on the other hand struggled onto the page and never let me rest. I paced, rattling myself through the house, talking, all right yelling at her and with her. She would not not not go onto the page. Finally after putting this bit and that part, after trying this way and that way I sat at the computer and entered her entire story in about three days. She wouldn’t let me do it any other way.

Excerpt from The Stain:

Where We Are In the Story: Chaytan, mysterious Medicine Man for Tahni’s husband’s village, now her home, has rescued her from the edge of the water where, in a blister producing fever she attempted to stop her suffering. He now uses his chants and trances to heal her from the infection ravishing her body.

Tahni’s eyes, opened the slightest bit, watched everything from her bed.
He began. He taunted the Evil Spirit, “Do you fear me, a small human?” His rattle shook, its feathers bouncing as he swayed over her, incanting, intoning, “Are you so cowardly you do not come out and meet me, face to face? My medicine must be very strong. With my strong medicine I will bring you great ransom. More than one soul for this useless, stupid girl. I will bring you Wolf. You are great and powerful. You do not need such a puny human being.”
He hummed and sang, the grainy sound of his rattle matching beads of sweat that worked their way across his face, chest, down his belly as he bent over the small, red pustules, naming and calling each one, daring them, “Bring me your maker. I am just a small human here, bring me your Strong Leader.”
Then between where he knelt and the far wall of the tent, she saw the Dark One, its rank odor filling the tight space.
Chaytan, Medicine Man, contracted his nostrils involuntarily, but he cooed like a child, “O, come to me, I have a great ransom for you.” With his mind, Chaytan shaped Raccoon, sent it sniffing, curious and intent, its black mask searching for the source of the smell.
The Dark One dissolved the image of the small creature before it had taken two steps.
Now Chaytan produced Beaver, fine and heavy, its luscious coat gleaming in the firelight. The picture of Beaver chattered its teeth as it approached the far wall. Dark One scooped this image up, too.
Unwavering Chaytan next created Wolf, large limbed, young and healthy. This he sent across the floor, its tail straight out behind so one or two steps brought it to the Dark One’s side. The smell in the small space intensified.
“I will do slaughter to tribute your great power,” Chaytan intoned, “Take these powerful animals, all three, leave the worthless human here...” He sprinkled herbs between them, inviting the Spirit.
Chaytan’s nostrils widened, then narrowed against the gamy smell. His stomach contracted, nausea starting. He forced his mind into a smaller tunnel, turned it away from his body, toward the enemy. A wall of solid evil met his force.
He felt himself weaken, then he blew a long, slow breath out, sucked in a long, full breath laden with the deadly scent.  With his mind he reached down into his lower belly, to the base of his spine, compelling a column of fire. Its intensity lit the room, white heat. He sent this through his mind toward the evil one, who this time, swayed slightly. Chaytan’s quick senses captured the subtle sign. He knew the Spirit had weakened.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was six years old when I wrote my first poem to my dog. He was a lovely tri color Collie, large and mostly black with a huge white collar and brown spots on his nose and legs. He had an exquisite intelligence clearly visible in his eyes and a greatly comforting presence. So I wrote this short poem and my parents, blue collar working people who took it as a badge of pride that my father had graduated from grade 12, were significantly impressed.
I recognized the power of writing. School floated around me like sea water around a sailor. Go someplace where I read and write and learn? And everyone has the same rules most of the time. I loved being in class. I failed at recess.
I kept writing, poetry much of the time but was too backward to attempt publishing until I was in my twenties. While I was in New Zealand I answered a call put out by a magazine and the first poem was published. I still have that poem, in that little magazine.

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

My ideas rise from either an internal sound, how words begin to speak to me through my cells, or from visions. Sometimes when I drift into daydreams, a kind of trance takes over and I find myself wandering in ways I never thought to inhabit.
That is the first draft, then comes revision and another revision and another revision and so on until I feel I have it as full to finished as possible. I’ll often revise up to twenty times a section I’m working on to get the effect I want.
A regular writing routine sounds like a marvellous experience. I  focused deeply in order to finish my first book, The Stain, then when my head rose I realized I had to learn something about marketing. So I began right away on my non-fiction book Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind and when it was completed, threw myself into learning about social media and marketing online.
I haven’t figured out how to add submitting articles and poetry to magazines, but have learned how to host, edit and produce my twice monthly program Off the Top for our community radio. I enjoy interviewing other writers.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Start and don’t stop. Write because it’s Friday or the next day, write because it’s raining, write because you’re at a bus stop or in a small café or movie theatre just write. Always. Everywhere.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

My writing partner Linda Stitt threaded her way through the crowd in front of me at our book launch.
“Char, this woman wants to know who wrote that poem about Lilith?” Linda has always been so proud of my work, as I am of hers. Lilith is a poem about the first wife of Adam, whom God had not the power to destroy when Adam rejected her, because she knew God’s secret names. So goes the poem.
“Oh, yes, I did,” I say with appropriate humility, extending my arm to connect with this one, a certain fan. “I did.”
Shaking my hand, looking straight into my eyes she said, “You’re sick. I’ll pray for you.”

Are you working on another book?

Memoirs are now shaping up. I have been drafting these for the same years in which I finished The Stain and Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind and now am diving in for the structuring part. Exciting, exhilarating, difficult, challenging and wonderful.

Charlene Diane Jones is a grandmother and lives on a small lake near in Ontario, Canada with Harry, the Cat Whisperer, and three rescue cats. She teachs meditation at the local yoga studio and in her home where she's had had a group for over 15 years every second week. She also sees people to help them untangle the web of their suffering.
She hosts, edits and produces a radio show, Off the Top, where she interviews writers, reads her own work, creates imaginary dialogues and more. 

For more on the author, her books, and her podcast check out her website:  www.soulsciences.net

You can find The Stain on Amazon

I'd like to thank Charlene Jones for stopping by today, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Interview With Skylar Nightingale

Today I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.

Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:

Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.

Today I have a great interview with romance author Skylar Nightingale.

Interview with Skylar Nightingale

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?

I am a mother of three loving boys and I have been married for 15 years to my adoring husband. I am a stay at home mom, but I also work at home online. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and spending time with my family.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is called “Bound to You.” It is going to be released in April. It is about a young woman named Nina. She has the opportunity to meet megastar Terry Rayborn. Meeting him, she realizes there is an unexplainable connection between them, but she keeps her feelings at bay because she has a boyfriend. However, when she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her, it changes her perspective on relationships. Although she’s damaged from her experience she gives Terry a try. They fall in love, but she becomes engulfed in fear of getting hurt again. She has to decide to let Terry go to avoid the pain or experience a love that is deeper than she’s ever felt.  

Of all the books you've written, do you have a favourite?

So far I have one published book, “Forbidden Acts”, and “Bound to You” is soon to be released.
I loved them both for different reasons. I love the sexual tension between Lucinda, the teacher, and Fabian, her student. It’s forbidden love. I enjoyed writing about this because you get to see and feel the internal struggle of not surrendering to your emotions. “Bound to You” is about imagination, meeting reality. Stimulating the question, what would you do if you had the opportunity to date your celebrity crush?

Why did you decide to write in the romance genre?

I decided to write in the romance genre because it is the genre I love to read. I revel in the tension and sometimes friction between the characters. I like to feel and see that when I’m writing and reading. Writing the character’s experiences and getting them where they want to be is an interesting journey.

Who is your intended readership?

I write for those who enjoy reading romance genres, Contemporary, New Adult, and Young Adult. My stories are intended for ages 16 and older.

Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

I was watching a music video of an artist that I liked and I thought, mmm…I wonder what would happen… and it grew into a story from there.

What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

I enjoyed the fantasy of it all. A mega-star falling in love with one of his biggest fans is something that many have daydreamed about. Giving readers a taste of that world of imagination is amazing.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

What I found challenging about writing my book is time. With all the things I have going on, I find it difficult to squeeze in time, but it is a must.

Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?

What surprised me is that the story changed and grew as I wrote it.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

My greatest challenge sometimes is not being able to turn off my imagination. I am always thinking of ideas. I may see or hear something and think that would be a great story idea, so I’ll jot it down. Currently, I have several stories brewing, waiting to be unearthed.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

My advice is to be focused with this talent. It is easy to get side-tracked because of everything that happens in life, but if you really want to do it, you have to take the initiative to sit down and get going on your next idea. No one else can do it for you, so if you don’t take some time, you will never complete a sentence, a paragraph, a book. 

Are you working on another book?

Yes, I am working on another. It is a YA romance.  Stay tuned…

Available on Amazon:

Bound to You – coming soon

Author Bio:

Skylar Nightingale grew up in Syracuse, NY. She was a shy girl who internalized ideas and events into stories. Skylar discovered her talent when she was in 3rd grade. Her teacher had a writing contest to win a poster of a character from a Dr. Seuss book. The first time she lost, but when she realized what the teacher and the class were looking for, she won every writing contest after that. She continued to write poetry when she moved to Connecticut at the age of 15. When she moved to South Carolina, she entered a writing competition, coming in third--against hundreds of writers. Skylar Nightingale is currently working on her second romance novel. When she isn’t behind her keyboard banging out amazing worlds and characters, she can be found spending time with her family, reading, or listening to music.

I'd like to thank Skylar Nightingale for stopping by today, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.

Google+ Badge